When Colette and Manuel Mayo signed their twin daughters senior guards Nicolette Mayo and Emani Mayo up for basketball at age five, the girls forged a bond with the game that made them inseparable off the court and on it too.
“It’s always been a passion,” Nicolette Mayo said. “It was never like, ‘Oh, [Emani Mayo] is passionate about it, so let me do it.’ We were both into it, or we would’ve given it up.”
But they’re not both heading into the same careers. With their graduation around the corner, Nicolette and Emani Mayo will be headed in different directions for the first time in their lives.
Nicolette Mayo, a media studies and production major with a minor in Africology and African American studies, wants to have her own talk show, while Emani Mayo, a marketing major with a minor in international business, wants to work in sports marketing and sports statistics or pursue a professional playing career in the WNBA.
Television is one of the few things the sisters don’t do together. Nicolette Mayo’s passion for television comes from her enjoyment of reality shows like “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta,” while Emani Mayo, who doesn’t enjoy reality television as much, is currently binging “Grey’s Anatomy,” she said.
Growing up in Hephzibah, Georgia, the Mayo twins, like other twins, did everything together. They had the same friends throughout high school, shared a room and pushed each other to academic success, but above all else, they hooped.
“We both was pretty passionate about it,” Nicolette Mayo said. “We did it because like that’s what we wanted to do.”
As a senior at Hephzibah High School, Emani Mayo averaged 20 points per game and was an All-State performer. Nicolette Mayo averaged 17.9 points.
Emani Mayo, committed to Temple with a scholarship and Nicolette Mayo agreed to be a walk-on for the Owls despite having opportunities to play on scholarship elsewhere, she said.
There was no way she was going to be without her twin sister.
Now as seniors, the Mayo twins are thankful they’ve continued their bond in Philadelphia.
Nicolette Mayo is the outspoken older sister who is always the first to answer an interview question and looks out for the best interests of her younger sister, who is a shy, more reserved person by nature, Emani Mayo said.
Despite being the “quieter” twin, Emani Mayo makes a big impact on the court. She’s played in 107 total games, including 83 starts. She averages 5.9 points per game for her career while shooting 33.1 percent from the field.
Nicolette Mayo, the self-proclaimed “bossy” twin, will frequently tell Emani Mayo things she missed or could’ve done better during games.
“She tells me everything I don’t want to hear,” Emani Mayo said. “She’s really on me, and I know it’s coming from the right place because she’s my sister.”
Colette Mayo, the twins’ mother, knows separating from each other will be an adjustment for her daughters, but as they’ve gotten older, her mind has changed about which twin will struggle the most when they’re not living in the same house.
“I probably would’ve said Nicolette years ago,” Colette Mayo said. “I think it’s going to be [Emani Mayo], I don’t think she’s going to struggle, she’s going to be fine, but she’s going to miss her.”
The twins know they have to become “selfish” after graduation and worry more about their own careers rather than each other’s, Nicolette Mayo said.
“You’ve got to follow your dreams, and then eventually, when we get where we want to be, then everything can come back together, and everybody’s happy,” Nicolette Mayo added.